Delivery Day turns to an Eventful Night
By now you may have seen that the latest litter has safely arrived at Red Rock K9. However only 2 of the pups were actually born in our whelping room. So here goes the story…
Cira began stage 2 of labor on Wednesday August 17th. By this stage we are carefully taking note and charting every uterine contraction to know the frequency and strength. This gives us an accurate timeline to go back and review if no puppies have arrived after 2-3 hours and assess the amount of stress the dog is under. In Cira’s case, this was the scenario as no pups had been born and at that point it was going on 2 a.m in the morning. We had also noticed Cira’s habits were a bit different than her previous litter as she was not comfortable laying down and had all of her contractions in the sitting position.
We decided that the only decision left was a trip to the emergency vet to assess the possibility of a C-section and determine the position of the first puppy. The trip there must have helped more progression as by the time the veterinarian on staff checked for position she noted the head of the puppy was very large (which was not present when I had checked). I was not too excited about the idea of C-section delivery unless it was absolutely necessary. Cira was in good condition but I knew it was best to have an educated opinion. We were given a pretty large exam room to wait in and I had brought the large bed for Cira that she was used to having in her whelping box. She seemed to be content with her bed in this new place and responded well to the the nurses and veterinarian. The staff was very kind and offered me coffee several times through the night and made sure I knew to “just holler” if I needed anything. So here we are, now at 3 a.m and I’m praying for Cira to just have the first puppy. I figure if we can just get the first puppy to deliver the rest will surely come with ease.
After an ultrasound and x-ray the veterinarian decided to administer a very small amount of oxytocin. This is usually something that should not be given with a puppy in the canal but it was concluded that the very small amount was not going to risk any harm to rupturing Cira’s uterus and the puppy that was already in the canal was at no greater stress than was already present.
After 30 minutes with no attempts greater than what I had witnessed Cira try to push at home the nurse came into check on us. The nurse said she would let the vet know and I knew that it was inevitable that they would be preparing for operation soon after.
I already had my sterile rubber gloves and OB lube in my pocket and thought I would have a quick check to see if the puppy was any farther down. To my surprise that puppy was so close I was confident that with a little patience I would be able to help Cira with this puppy. I literally was able to secure a hold on the backside of each jaw of the puppy and waited for Cira’s next contraction. It is definitely not the first time I have had to help a female with a pup so I knew exactly what to do in this situation. My only concern as I sat back in the corner of this large room with only a small glass window in the door was that I was going to have to tell a nurse or a vet to please have a seat if they entered as I was a bit tied up in a position of keeping Cira calm and still with a puppy’s head securely grasped with a thumb and index finger. At her next contraction there was progress as I felt the puppy come down being careful to pull no more than the contraction allowed. I knew by Cira’s reaction at her next movement that it was a big puppy. Within seconds of waiting on the next contraction the puppy was virtually out, still in its protective sack and we waited for Cira’s final push. And there it was, placenta and puppy dropping to her little bed in one fast swoop.
So now, here I am surprised to have just delivered a puppy in this room that I have all to myself. Cira took the first moment to “clean up” the placenta and I’m already helping free the sack from around the puppy. I’m realizing in this moment that I don’t have my baby nasal aspirator (I just had to look up the name for that on google as I typed in “baby nose” and googled finished by search results with “sucker” … I know I’m not the only person that apparently doesn’t know what those are called). I was not shy on taking the nurses up on their offer of “holler if you need anything.” Only problem was the only words that could come to mind for that nasal aspirator was “suction.” So here I am yelling to the reception room adjacent from me: “SUCTION, SUCTION… I NEED SUCTION….. And TOWELS TOO!!!” I hear a quick voice yell back, “HERE I COME.” Perhaps a bit comical if my adrenalin was not kicked into full gear at the moment. The nurse came running in with supplies in hand. My main concern when a puppy (especially one that has been in canal for a longer period) is to clear the puppy’s lungs and begin rubbing vigorously on the puppy to get the blood flow moving through the body all while momma is still usually chewing off the umbilical cord. I try my best to interfere as little a possible but usually in that quick moment surprisingly mamma is occupied cleaning what usually exits with the puppy and seems to not mind the help. It all happens very fast. Puppy came out perfect. Just very large.
So here I am nearly 4 am in the morning with the first puppy born, happily nursing on mamma Cira, all on the comfort of my newly stained ergonomically cushioned premium dog bed. The nurse came back into “my current whelping room” and explained that she had a name picked out for the puppy if I needed ideas. I was a bit confused by the comment as that was the last thing on my mind. She went on to explain that she had just had to pronounce a dog deceased and at the very same moment she had heard the my puppy’s cry and my very loud call out for assistance. So in honor of the dog that I never met… for now, the nick name of this large male pup we shall call Koda.
Within about 15 minutes from delivery of the first pup, the second was born. This female was delivered with ease. I really think now after knowing of Cira’s change in delivery habits from her first litter that the first pup was just very large and could have caused undue trouble for the rest of the litter.
It is now nearly 5 a.m and I am just seeing the vet again for the first time since Cira having 2 pups. She enjoyed watching Cira clean and feed her two pups and she told me that I was free to stick around or welcome to head back to the house and to call if I needed anything else. If I hadn’t seen her begin contracting on pup 3 I may have tried to get home right then but instead I thought it better to wait for the 3rd pup to be born.
Cira did great pushing that third pup but I knew she was super exhausted at this time. Cira at this point was in her normal laying down position with two pups nursing as she contracted and pushed. She seemed to appreciate the calm encouragement and was not affected by my presence in the corner of the room. I checked the location of the puppy and this one was positioned feet first which is not uncommon. Sometimes it can be a bit trickier for a tired female to push. So comfortably I position two finger on the feet of the puppy still in canal and wait for Cira’s contractions. The main purpose of my help when there is a pup that is breach is to make certain not to loose any ground that she gained in the process of pushing (Puppies have a way of wanting to stay where it is comfortable). Another nurse walks in and sees a puppy being delivered and as she starts to talk “in a happy voice” to Cira I kindly asked her if she would like to have a seat and watch. She obliged and I think realized it wasn’t a time for idle chit-chat. Within moments we now have 3 pups delivered all in the comfort of this newly decorated bed… All the while, pups are happy and nursing.
I rush to pay and prepare the van for safe travels with pups in blanketed box and mamma Cira and her large area and comforter and pillow positioned against secured crates that are bolted to the van.
It is now nearly 5:40 a.m and I call my wife Linsey to prepare her for my arrival coming in hot with Cira and pups. I realized my last text message with her we had talked the direction of C-section so she was a bit confused at first when I told her I had 3 pups in a box and that I needed her to get the heat lamps on and ready in the puppy area and to come meet me when I drove up directly in front of the whelping building. I explained that I wanted to get to Cira out of the van as soon as I drove up.
So I arrive and she is there waiting for me and quickly gets pups to the room. As I step into see Cira I was glad that she was on her bed but quickly noticed that there was a moving puppy at her “end” yet for some reason with that pup she was not able to get in the position to perhaps safely cut the umbilical cord that was still connected to the puppy and led back to her. I imagine with the moving of the vehicle she chose to stay in a safe laying down position and cleaned the puppy and removed the sack yet just hadn’t quite finished. I’m note sure at what point on the 20 minute drive home she actually had the puppy or perhaps she had the pup while I pulled into the driveway. Either way, at this point I’m yelling back towards the whelping area for Linsey to bring the scissors that were so carefully positioned and available in the whelping room. She comes rushing to the back of the van and with a quick snip the puppy, Cira, my wife and I are rushing back to the whelping box.
So at this point, 3 pups have been delivered in the emergency exam holding room and 1 female pup born somewhere between Oklahoma City and Edmond in the back of my van. I think pup 4, the female born while in the car needs a name that represents her entry into the world while being driven home. Perhaps Daisy? After Driving Miss Daisy?
Pup 5 was born feet first with a little help from me. We felt at the time that with the position of the pup and amount of time Cira had been in labor that the best choice was to help her so long as there was no undue stress on her in the process.
It is now 9 a.m and my wife had stepped back inside to tend to the morning routine of the kids while I waited for the 6th and final pup. But why would the drama need to be done just quite yet?
Pup 6 came into this world protesting the need for his own attention. As soon as he was delivered there was much more blood present than normal and after a quick assessment of holding puppy it was obvious his umbilical cord was a bit more disturbed than the others. A little blood is normal here and there but when you see something beginning to squirt and slowly line the pups stomach with red you begin to kick it into a faster gear than you were already going.
So now I find myself barking out my 3rd set of loud request of the night. “Get the floss string and the septic stick,” I yelled for Linsey to rush to the room where we had already prepared floss string ties ready to tie off any leaking umbilical cords. I am glad that Linesy was there and able to quickly tie the cord as two sets of hands certainly made quick work of it. Usually if there is any bleeding it is much slower and not as urgent as this was in this moment. Perhaps it was the quick tie or the septic stick that was also rubbed back and forth across the umbilical cored but luckily we had avoided any major issues and the puppy within seconds of entering the world knew no difference and was happily nursing alongside his brothers and sisters.
So today I am thankful. Thankful for the arrival of 6 healthy puppies. Thankful for a visiting veterinarian that understands the importance of a call from me on the day of expected puppy arrival and graciously excepted my initial phone call at 1 a.m. leading up to the hour of “decision time.” I’m thankful for a kind and caring staff at the emergency clinic that was patient and understanding of my initial concerns and also accommodated my stay quite well. After all, when else can you deliver puppies in a room just seconds away from having every single piece of medical equipment available and the knowledge and experience to go with it at your fingertips if needed. I’m thankful for having past experiences that prepared to be ready and know how to handle situations like these when time was of the essence.
Lastly, I’m thankful that with bleach and some detergent, Cira will have her new comfy bed back and its looking as good as new.
Cira’s 6 are all perfectly healthy and thriving. Follow their progress on our Facebook Page and bookmark our Red Rock K9 German Shepherds web site, if you are interested in a trained Red Rock K9 German Shepherd Puppy in the future.